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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the games begin but they don't count yet

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The Orioles will start playing games against other teams today - they just don’t count quite yet. In today’s links, Rasmus on Rasmus, the home runs to come, and more.

Baltimore Orioles  v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 34 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. This uniform number was used by Paul Janish in 2017, but will be used by Kevin Gausman this season in memory of the late Roy Halladay. So make like a two-time Cy Young winner today.

Also happening today is the beginning of the Grapefruit League season. The Orioles will play a bunch of games that don't count over the next month and they will hopefully get themselves into game shape and collect information on who their best players are and when and how to use them.

Results in those spring training games will not necessarily be the most important thing to making those decisions, although they may factor in. If the backup catching candidates aren't up to snuff, that's important to know. If the utility infield candidates can't play shortstop, that matters, too. If prospects like Austin Hays and Chance Sisco really need more time in the minors, the Orioles should figure that out as well.

And hey, the Orioles will be on TV today! If you're at work, you probably won't be able to tune in on MASN, and if you're not in Baltimore, you probably won't be able to listen on the radio either, but hey, the game will still be happening, so maybe that will make the day go a little faster for you. Baseball is back. It probably won't be a very fun season in the win-loss column, but that's not why we're Orioles fans anyway, is it?

Around the blogO'sphere

Rasmus: "I still feel like I have a little bit left to give the game" (School of Roch)
Colby Rasmus made a choice last year that, by MLB player standards, was quite eccentric. He told Orioles reporters that he hopes to pay back the O’s for taking a chance on him by playing good baseball.

After flurry of activity, are Orioles done constructing their 2018 roster? (Baltimore Sun)
I think we all want the answer to be no but know in our hearts that the answer is yes.

Rotation hopeful Wright opens O's spring slate (Orioles.com)
Nothing says that it’s time to start getting excited for baseball like Mike Wright getting a start.

The Orioles aren't rebuilding, but they're not reloading either (Camden Depot)
The offseason-long buzzword from Dan Duquette was “reloading” rather than rebuilding - but at the Depot, Matt Kremnitzer ain’t buying it. He’s not wrong.

Orioles' economic impact in Sarasota hits $97M, study shows (Sarasota Herald-Tribune)
One should always be skeptical of economic impact claims.

Susac returns to Orioles clubhouse after hospital stay (School of Roch)
Get well soon, Andrew Susac, especially if you’re going to be the backup catcher.

The home run record could be broken twice over (Fangraphs)
The Fangraphs projections think that the Orioles will end up breaking the team single-season home run record this season... and still have fewer home runs than the Yankees.

Birthdays and anniversaries

There are two former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: 1995-96 slugger Bobby Bonilla, and 1981-87 outfielder and later coach John "T-Bone" Shelby.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your birthday buddies for today include: diarist Samuel Pepys (1633), sociologist and NAACP co-founder W.E.B. DuBois (1868), Star Trek computer voice Majel Barrett (1932), actor Josh Gad (1981), comedian Aziz Ansari (1983), and actress Emily Blunt (1983).

On this day in history...

In 1455, according to tradition, the Gutenberg Bible was published. This is noteworthy as the first book printed with movable type in the West.

In 1836, the Mexicans began the Siege of the Alamo in Texas. They later stormed the fortress and killed all of the defenders.

In 1861, then-president-elect Lincoln passed through Baltimore in the middle of the night on the way to Washington - the overnight secret journey being necessary to avoid an assassination plot.

In 1927, German physicist Werner Heisenberg wrote a letter to colleague Wolfgang Pauli in which he first outlined his uncertainty principle, significant to quantum mechanics.

In 1941, Dr. Glenn Seaborg first isolated plutonium.

In 1945, during the Battle of Iwo Jima, the iconic photo of the American flag being raised by six Marines was taken by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal. The battle went on for over a month more; three of the six in the photograph did not survive Iwo Jima.

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And that's the way it is in Birdland on February 23 - or at least, until something happens later when the Orioles play their first spring training game. Nobody says it will be an eventful game, though. In fact, it's probably better if it's not. Have a safe Friday, and go Team USA!